3rd Annual Mayberry Comes to Graysville

Filed under:



It was probably the shortest parade I've ever attended, including a St. Patrick's Day celebration in Mississippi that made its wat 'round the block three times so the lone marching band could finish its song. No, this one was shorter, and didn't have a marching band to accommodate, and therefore couldn't justify a repeat of the quarter-mile route.

Mayberry comes to Graysville is a big event in this small, central-Alabama town, and its residents lined the street, clustering in spots of storefront-awning shade to escape the muggy heat.

Continue reading after the jump.

Continue reading 3rd Annual Mayberry Comes to Graysville

 

[via] Autoblog

Misguided youth: Teen driving distractions

Filed under: , ,

Many have observed the recent uptick in teenage drivers having accidents while text messaging, often with tragic consequences. Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions have recently carried out research that shows texting to be the list-topping distraction among the more than 900 teens they polled. SADD and Liberty Mutual have been collecting data for seven years about teen behavior, attitudes and decision making while driving. They've amassed a treasure trove of information about what kids do while they should be driving, and how effective their parental units are at laying out and enforcing rules.

Rather than merely yell about the sky falling while burying their heads in the sand, Liberty Mutual and SADD have developed a set of recommendations for parents when it comes to teen drivers. The suggestions are all good, and mostly common sense; things such as being familiar with your state's graduated licensing laws, following through with consequences for flouting rules, you know, all the stuff we used to be worried about our parents doing. We hope the effort has some effect - even without the distraction of electronic toys while driving, teenagers are the least experienced drivers on the road, and thus need to be the most vigilant about having all their facilities concentrated on the task of keeping a 3,000 pound potential weapon in control.

follow the jump to see what other top distractions affect teen drivers

[Source: SADD]

Continue reading Misguided youth: Teen driving distractions

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

How the new Mazda2 shed the pounds

Filed under: ,



Recently we blogged about vehicles getting heavier and the general consensus was that they were better off with the added safety and improved features of a new car. Now we have Mazda, who has managed to remove 100kg from its new Mazda2 supermini over the previous model. With the weight loss the 1.3L and 1.5L models come in at 955kg and 960kg respectively.

Mazda has now released information on how they achieved these savings with better engineering techniques and a smaller overall car. Reducing the size of the new model - another trend bucked - resulted in a 20kg loss, while the removal of some features also contributed another 20kg. The other 60kg was done by reducing the weight of the front seats (2.5kg), suspension (13kg), front speakers (1kg), and the electrical system at 2.9kg.

Reducing weight has resulted in the car achieving better than expected MPG ratings (53MPG on the combined cycle) and also helped improve agility. Now if only someone could implement the same types of programs on, say, a Cadillac Escalade...

[Source: Mazda]

Continue reading How the new Mazda2 shed the pounds

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Pikes Peak: Millen dominates RWD Time Attack class

Filed under: , ,

As expected, Rhys Millen and his Pontiac Solstice GXP dominated not only the inaugural 2WD Time Attack class, but when the dust settled, he was four-seconds faster than Nathan Conley in an '03 Subaru WRX Wagon competing in the 4WD division. Millen made it up the mountain in 12:45.153, while his nearest competitor in the 2WD class, Colin J. McCleery in an '89 Ford Sierra, was a full minute and 50 seconds behind.

Millen was pleased with both his driving and the GXP, but was less enthused with the course conditions, citing poor traction on parts of the gravel-strewn stages.

You can read Millen's full account of the race in the press release after the jump, while the overall standings of all the competitors can be viewed here.

[Sources: GM, PPHIC]

Continue reading Pikes Peak: Millen dominates RWD Time Attack class

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Spy Video: Mitsubishi Evo X in motion

Filed under: , ,



Before the folks over at Mitsubishi drop their crown jewel Evo X on an eager public, many road-hours of testing have to be logged in the souped-up Lancer. Besides the fact that the Evo X is arguably Mitsubishi's most recognizable car, there is plenty of new technology that needs to be perfected before buyers can purchase this rocketship. Edmunds Inside Line has video of the Evo X taking it to the 'Ring, and Mitsubishi's 4WD, 300+hp beast looks ready to be unleashed. A new paddle-shift twin-clutch supersport automatic joins the more traditional six-speed manual, and more powerful means of forced induction are rumored to lie under the hood. From its aggressive stance and sharp looks, to the increased performance potential, Mitsubishi looks like a lock to continue the Evo tradition. Hit the jump to view the Evo X in action from Germany's most famous car playground.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Spy Video: Mitsubishi Evo X in motion

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreeen for 07.23.07

Filed under: ,



Who says you can't drive a Tesla Roadster? AutoblogGreen found out over the weekend that the much-hyped all-electric sports car will be featured in Project Gotham Racing 4, so get your XBox controllers ready. The video above is one of a series we found on YouTube showing some of the cars being filmed for inclusion in the game.You can see the rest here. When you're done ohhing and ahhing, you can see the rest of the weekend's green car news in the list below.

 

[via] Autoblog

Déjà vu all over again: Euro-infused Fords are coming, new Focus by 2011

Filed under: , , , , , ,



We've known that after Mulally was appointed Grand Poo-bah of FoMoCo, one of the first items on his to-do list was to commonize the automaker's lineup in Europe and America in an effort to cut production costs. The cry from those of us in the States, deriding Ford's execs for depriving us of the automaker's European offerings has been far and wide, and according to Automotive News, the movement is underfoot. Let the breath holding begin.

The auto-industry pub cites suppliers and "industry sources" as saying that Ford will be importing the C1 platform to the U.S. in the form of the new Focus and Escape, along with the C-Max and a Lincoln crossover. Expect the new Focus and C-Max to make it to our shores by 2011, while the Escape replacement and Lincoln's crossover - likely to be inspired by the European Kuga - to come by 2012.

Even better for N.A. autoworkers, Ford plans to build these newest offerings in the Wayne, Michigan and Kansas City plant, with a possibility of also employing the Cuautitlan, Mexico line.

Although we've heard these rumblings before, and have been left with such disappointments as the '08 Focus, we're feeling a bit more confident about this latest report. The timeframe seems entirely plausible, but until it happens we'll be looking cautiously into the future.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

Euro vs. Dollar: More factories may be U.S.-bound

Filed under: , , , , , ,

How's this for a wake-up call on the state of the dollar: "If the dollar keeps slumping against the euro, the United States could become the next Mexico -- a low-cost manufacturing haven for European automakers and suppliers." With the dollar at $1.38 to the euro as of now, and expecting to drop further, European makes either need to raise prices, move production to "cheaper" countries like the US, become more efficient, or be happy with less profits. Fewer euros in the till isn't really an option, and price wars are already difficult enough to navigate. That leaves relocation or finding cost efficiencies in other markets.

The article in Automotive News goes on to detail how European manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes are actively moving production to their Spartanburg, South Carolina and Tuscaloosa, Alabama factories, respectively. VW is considering its options for an American plant, but will stick with Mexican operations for now. Audi's approach, since it only sells 10-percent of it's European product in the US, has been to find cost efficiencies in markets like China. Other companies looking for such natural hedges include Magna, which recently lost a huge amount of production at its Austrian plant. The Canadian supplier and manufacturer is looking at building a factory in America to ease the pain.

The market is being watched closely, and there are too many factors in play to know who will do what yet, but some analysts think the dollar might drop to $1.50 against the euro. If so, said John Lawson, chief auto analyst for Citigroup in London, "Either the dollar has to change, or the business model has to change."

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

Frankfurt Motor Show rumors: VW unveiling ultra-cheap ride

Filed under: , ,

Due to its unique shape and low cost, the VW Beetle is perhaps the most recognizable vehicle ever to grace international roads. Since the original Bug faded away into history, the folks in Wolfsburg seem to have gotten away from budget wheels in favor of high-quality, but pricey, offerings. That's all about to change, however, as Volkswagen plans to unveil their blueprint for a new bargain VW at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The noble idea is to produce a vehicle for under €8,000 while retaining the look and feel that VW customers have come to expect. With the high cost of labor in Europe, the idea may seem like a pipe dream, but VW's plants in China and Mexico should be able to get the job done. We're probably not the only ones that hope V-dub can pull this one off.

[Source: The German Car Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford fears add complexity to Jag and Land Rover bidding

Filed under: , , , ,

Those of us outside of Ford have little idea about what Ford is really planning to do with its remaining PAG brands, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo. If nothing else, it does seems clear that Ford wants to get rid of Jaguar and Land Rover at something above fire sale prices, and it would like to keep Volvo if it can find the money and concentration to run it properly. When it comes to Jag and Rover, the surprising revelation is that even the companies bidding for the British marques have little idea about what they're getting.

Names of potential bidders continue to bob up, the latest being American equity firms TPG and Ripplewood Holdings. But Ford hasn't given any of the bidders a complete financial picture of Jaguar and Land Rover, nor have any of the bidders even been allowed to visit the factories or speak to senior management. Potential buyers have also been told not to bid if they plan on closing factories or moving production out of Britain. We can't help but think these are odd constraints to place on such a potentially large transaction -- up to $8 billion, according to some estimates. Bidders are being asked to stump up for two companies they know little about, including one that has lost a fortune, and that they cannot change them in drastic ways to render them profitable.

Ford is ostensibly worried about damage to its reputation if it relinquishes the two hallowed names to slash-and-burn overseers. Ford is the number one selling brand in Britain, and doesn't want residual anger over its treatment of Jag and Land Rover to affect its position. If this sale is a 15-round fight, we're only in Round 3 -- and it look like it's going to be a long, fascinating match all the way to the end.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Surprise, surprise: U.S. ranks 42nd out of 48 countries in deaths per capita

Filed under: ,

When you hear that the US is 42nd out of 48 countries when it comes to number of deaths per capita, it might sound like a good thing. Until you find out that the rankings go from lowest to highest -- which means, yes, that of the measured countries, there are only six places where driving is more deadly than the Land of the Free. (Tip: you might want to avoid driving in Russia and Lithuania for a few more years.)

The posited reasons are varied and numerous, and include the brevity of driver training, lax laws, weak enforcement, no emphasis on public transport, little public awareness, and a lack of Federal legislation. Regardless of the causes, the effect is that it's riskier to get behind the wheel here than it is in the Poland or Estonia. This is despite the fact that cars have gotten exponentially safer, and the US leads the world in the adoption of electronic stability control, said to be "the greatest life-saving technology since the seat belt."

If there's any consolation, it's that the US does considerably better in the number of fatalities per mile driven, where the US comes in at number 11. Before you celebrate, in 1970 the US was number one. Which country has the lowest number of fatalities per capita? Malta.

[Source: New York Times]

 

[via] Autoblog

Reader Ride: 1972 Datsun 240Z

Filed under: , ,



It's with the greatest pleasure and sincerest honor that we're able to kick-off the return of the Reader Ride with this 1972 Datsun 240Z. Aside from being one of the most handsome vehicles to ever leave Tokyo and its game-changing affect on the perception of Japanese vehicles, this 240Z has a history that was too compelling to pass up.

With only 40,000 miles on the odometer, it was purchased by Victor Vazquez of South Orange County from its previous owner located in San Diego. Originally intended to be a daily driver and perpetual project, Victor found it to be too much of a mechanical handful for daily duty, so it was sent off to a paint shop to restore it to its former glory. Regrettably, the reunion has never taken place, as Mr. Vazquez passed away on November 13th, last year.

The current owner, Victor's brother, has yet to receive the Z back from the shop, but when he does, it's expected to live out its life in the garage as a weekend-cruiser and rolling memorial to his brother.

Our love and regards are being sent out to the Vazquez family, and although this post could never do Victor's memory justice, we're honored that we were able to salute him in one of the only ways we know how.

Follow the jump to see more shots of Victor's Z and to get directions on how to submit your own vehicle for selection in our Reader Ride contest.

Continue reading Reader Ride: 1972 Datsun 240Z

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Rendered speculation: 2009 Audi A5/S5 sportback

Filed under: , , ,

Audi's A5 line was supposed to mean "coupe," but the exception to the rule appears to be the Sportback variant. While the renderings give it five doors, the car definitely retains its coupe DNA -- there'll be no chance of confusing it with an A4 Avant. The bog standard Sportback will make do with front wheel drive and common rail diesels producing 140 to 200 hp. Step above that and you'll get gas options that utilize Audi's TFSI engines, as well as quattro and torque vectoring. The star at the top of the Christmas tree goes by the name of RS5, and gets the 4.2-liter FSI V8. If the final version looks as good as the renderings, then we think we need two.

[Source: Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Porsche 911 Turbo SP580 by Sportec

Filed under: , , , ,

Tuners just can't get enough of the 997 Turbo, with a list so far including SpeedART, TechArt, Edo, Rinspeed, and 9ff. That latter tuner even rings three bells by winning the HP competition, the top speed run, and being a convertible. The Swiss modifier fiddles with the ECU, swaps out the stock turbos for its own units, installs a high-flow exhaust, new air filter, and a strengthened clutch. Sportech also adds hi-po brakes with 6-pot calipers, a sports suspension, and a new front spoiler and rear wing -- and some hot wheels. Then it tunes the entire thing in four stages: from a 530-hp Stage 1 package to a 580-hp Stage 4 time-bender that digs holes in the road with 564-lb-ft of torque. Top speed is 210 mph. We never complain about anyone who adds to the already fantastic 997 Turbo, but in such a crowded and nandrolone-infused field, this latest entrant could sound, well, excuse us for saying so, but... tame.

[Source: Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Steer clear of the youngins on the road and get behind the old guy

Filed under: , ,

For drivers between the ages of 16 and 24, the price of insurance can seem more than a little unfair. While $125 per month could insure a luxury vehicle for someone in their 30s, a 16 year-old couldn't get such a rate for a Pinto. There's a very simple reason for this disparity; young motorists are by far the most dangerous drivers on the road. A study by the Rand Corporations shows that while 13-percent of all drivers are between the ages of 16 and 24, 43-percent of all accidents come from that age group. It's a good thing everybody seems to be on the phone while driving, it may not hurt as much when you don't see that pimped out Neon coming.

While young drivers are an accident waiting to happen, those over the age of 65 are much safer than their unearned reputation may suggest. Senior citizens make up 15-percent of all drivers, but only cause 7-percent of the total accidents. Maybe it's because people are a little more careful when they see a Crown Victoria on the road, but that AARP discount appears to be well-deserved anyway. Next time you're on the freeway and you see a Buick Roadmaster in the right lane, get behind it, it's probably one of the safest places on the road.

[Source: Reuters]

 

[via] Autoblog

In the Autoblog Garage: RIDEMAKERZ Ford Super Chief

Filed under: , , ,


Click the pic above for a high-res gallery of images

The common mantra for most people that have made the unfortunate transition to adulthood goes something like this: "Wish I would have had that when I was a kid." We feel your pain, probably more than most, and especially when it comes to the four-wheeled delights that most adolescents have at their disposal. So when we heard about Chip Foose's newest endeavor (seriously, has that guy invented a 32-hour day?), our initial reaction was "Cool!" followed by a series of mutterings reminiscent of one our elderly uncles.

Thankfully, we've been provided with a way to relive our misspent youth in the from of the RIDEMAKERZ Ford Super Chief (Base MSRP $28.00), jacked-up to all get-out and completely pimped with hood scoop, utility chest, and flashing lights.

So how else could we review this newest line of toys? Naturally, we're putting it through our own series of tests that any media whip would get, so follow the jump for the complete review.

Continue reading In the Autoblog Garage: RIDEMAKERZ Ford Super Chief

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

'X' doesn't mark the spot: Mitsubishi to drop numerical designation on UK Evo

Filed under: , ,



Over nearly two decades, Mitsubishi's Evolution has done exactly what its name implies, with each successive model getting better, and a separate numerical designation affixed to the trunk. However, according to AutoExpress, buyers of the newest Evo in UK will be getting their all-wheel-drive rally rocket bereft of the next Roman numeral, "X" on the boot.

The plain-old Evolution will be anything but when it goes on sale next spring, packing 300+ HP and enough electronics to keep any CES geek catatonic for weeks.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 

[via] Autoblog

300HP no more: Official specs for Dodge Caliber SRT-4

Filed under: , ,



Caliberforums.com is dishing the dirt on the new Caliber SRT-4, and they don't seem too pleased. Forum member Ironside happened upon a 2008 model guide while visiting a local Dodge dealer and when he flipped through the book, he spotted the SRT specs and pics. He even photocopied the pages and posted them for proof. Many forum members seem to be let down, as the promised 300 hp is apparently not gonna happen. Here are the posted specs and a few comments:
  • 2.4L DOHC 16V Dual VVT 4-cylinder intercooled/turbocharged World Engine with 280hp @ 6000-6400rpm, 260 lb-ft torque @ 200-5600rpm.
  • 0-60mph = 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 mile = 14.6 seconds
  • Top speed = 157mph
  • The SRT-4 will have a choice of two different 19" 5-spoke rims, the painted ones like on current SRT's, and the chrome ones.
  • Final colours that are offered are brilliant black, sunburst orange, bright silver and inferno red (So no new colours like we'd hoped for the SRT).
  • The front driver seat FOLDS FLAT.
  • NO MyGIG.
  • ***NEW INTERIOR*** Offered in what they call a "new completely dark slate grey" (huge improvement from the sound of it).
Thanks for the tip, Jim!

[Source: Caliberforums.com]

Continue reading 300HP no more: Official specs for Dodge Caliber SRT-4

 

[via] Autoblog

Eco-thugs trash D.C. resident's HUMMER

Filed under: , , ,

HUMMER Vandalized in DCGareth Groves had his newly-acquired 2005 HUMMER H2 SUT on the road for just five days, and now it's out of commission. Groves lives in what a neighbor described to The Washington Post as "liberal leaning" community. That same person felt compelled to add that "It's ridiculous to be driving a HUMMER." Apparently, she's not the only one who felt that way.

[Source: The Washington Post]

Continue reading Eco-thugs trash D.C. resident's HUMMER

 

[via] Autoblog

Europe Rallies to the Cause: Ford Focus ST WRC Edition

Filed under: , , ,

click above image for more high-res pics of the Ford Focus ST WRC Edition

Hot hatches and rally cars: two European trends that are only starting to catch on in America, Ford's home market. But that doesn't stop the blue oval from campaigning fiercely in both arenas. The latest point where the two intersect is here, with the Ford Focus ST WRC Edition.

Not to be confused with the 136-hp TDi-powered Focus WRC-S shown last month at the Barcelona show, the ST WRC Edition (as you might well have guessed) starts with the already red-hot European Focus ST and upgrades from there. It's motivated by a 2.5-liter turbocharged Duratec inline-5 mated to a six-speed and coupled with an Eibach suspension kit that drops the ride height by 15mm. The WRC Edition, available only in white and decked out in special stripes and decals, also gets a full body kit with a front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser, plus chrome-tipped exhaust and monster 20" powder-white OZ racing rims.

The only change to the interior is an aluminum plaque on the center console bearing the signatures of Marcus Gronholm and his co-pilot Mikko Hirvonen, victors of the 2006 World Rally Championship, which this car is made to commemorate. Only 50 will be made, and even with the approximately $11,000 premium over the standard Focus ST, they should sell out pretty fast.

[Source: Ford]


 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Racing legends to compete for charity at Monterey Historics

Filed under: , , ,



Monterey is fast approaching and we're getting geared up to cover all of the excitement for you. The combination of classic cars and legendary drivers at such a scenic venue makes the Monterey Historics like nothing else in the world. Visitors to this year's 34th installment of the (deep breath here) Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races will get to take in an all-new attraction. The inaugural Race of Legends will take place on Saturday, August 18 at Laguna Seca Raceway. The race will be presented by Toyota, and will feature nine legendary drivers in an eight-lap charity competition. While we'd love to see the drivers using something a little older, in the interest of fairness, the supercharged Scion tCs will probably do.

Something like the Pro/Celebrity race at Long Beach each year, this race has a twist. Rather than using celebrities plucked from the entertainment field, the Race of Legends will feature some of racing's greatest names. The drivers are former winners from Formula One, CART, the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Take a look at this roster: Bobby Unser, Al Unser Sr., Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Rahal, Parnelli Jones, Emerson Fittipaldi, Vic Elford, Derek Bell and Ove Andersson. While we know this is a charity event, most of these guys are still quite competitive and should make it interesting. A top prize of $25,000 for the winner's favorite charity is being put up by Toyota, which is celebrating 50 years of motorsports heritage this year. We'll try to get some photos to you as soon as the checkered flag falls.

Full press release with driver bios after the jump.

[Source: Monterey Historic]

Continue reading Racing legends to compete for charity at Monterey Historics

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Ecosse Spirit ES1 and Motoczysz C1 push the boundaries of motorcycle design

Filed under: , ,



Many of the same principles for making cars go fast work the same when applied to motorcycles. However, there are fundamental differences which need to be taken into account when the highest performance is required. Take chassis design, for instance. With an automotive chassis, race cars generally want to be as stiff as possible. This is not always the case when there are only two contact patches on the ground. This is because lateral flex allows some "give" when the bike is leaned over. Some also believe that some extra steering input is given by the rear tire when the chassis flexes, allowing the motorcycle to handle better when leaned over. Another area where motorcycles differ from cars is aerodynamics. Because of the basic rider\bike relationship, width is crucial when it comes to motorcycle racing aerodynamics. The height is almost preset by the rider; you can only crouch so much! But, the width of the bike allows designers the ability to shorten the bike by shortening the distance between the riders knees. Motoczysz has taken this idea and run with it. They believe that by halving the engine width by arranging the four cylinders in a staggered "V" pattern that they can make up the lower output they will achieve by adding a coupling set of gears on the crankshaft with the increase in aerodynamic efficiency that the design will allow. They are also building in adjustable lateral suspension movement in their innovative front fork arrangement.

Follow us past the break for more on the design of the Motocsysz and the Ecosse Spirit ES1 plus a video of the Ecosse Spirit ES1 just before its official unveiling!

[Source: Ecosse Spirit, Motoczysz and Motorcycle News]

Continue reading Ecosse Spirit ES1 and Motoczysz C1 push the boundaries of motorcycle design

 

[via] Autoblog

Misguided youth: Teen driving distractions

Filed under: , ,

Many have observed the recent uptick in teenage drivers having accidents while text messaging, often with tragic consequences. Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions have recently carried out research that shows texting to be the list-topping distraction among the more than 900 teens they polled. SADD and Liberty Mutual have been collecting data for seven years about teen behavior, attitudes and decision making while driving. They've amassed a treasure trove of information about what kids do while they should be driving, and how effective their parental units are at laying out and enforcing rules.

Rather than merely yell about the sky falling while burying their heads in the sand, Liberty Mutual and SADD have developed a set of recommendations for parents when it comes to teen drivers. The suggestions are all good, and mostly common sense; things such as being familiar with your state's graduated licensing laws, following through with consequences for flouting rules, you know, all the stuff we used to be worried about our parents doing. We hope the effort has some effect - even without the distraction of electronic toys while driving, teenagers are the least experienced drivers on the road, and thus need to be the most vigilant about having all their facilities concentrated on the task of keeping a 3,000 pound potential weapon in control.

follow the jump to see what other top distractions affect teen drivers

[Source: SADD]

Continue reading Misguided youth: Teen driving distractions

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

How the new Mazda2 shed the pounds

Filed under: ,



Recently we blogged about vehicles getting heavier and the general consensus was that they were better off with the added safety and improved features of a new car. Now we have Mazda, who has managed to remove 100kg from its new Mazda2 supermini over the previous model. With the weight loss the 1.3L and 1.5L models come in at 955kg and 960kg respectively.

Mazda has now released information on how they achieved these savings with better engineering techniques and a smaller overall car. Reducing the size of the new model - another trend bucked - resulted in a 20kg loss, while the removal of some features also contributed another 20kg. The other 60kg was done by reducing the weight of the front seats (2.5kg), suspension (13kg), front speakers (1kg), and the electrical system at 2.9kg.

Reducing weight has resulted in the car achieving better than expected MPG ratings (53MPG on the combined cycle) and also helped improve agility. Now if only someone could implement the same types of programs on, say, a Cadillac Escalade...

[Source: Mazda]

Continue reading How the new Mazda2 shed the pounds

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Pikes Peak: Millen dominates RWD Time Attack class

Filed under: , ,

As expected, Rhys Millen and his Pontiac Solstice GXP dominated not only the inaugural 2WD Time Attack class, but when the dust settled, he was four-seconds faster than Nathan Conley in an '03 Subaru WRX Wagon competing in the 4WD division. Millen made it up the mountain in 12:45.153, while his nearest competitor in the 2WD class, Colin J. McCleery in an '89 Ford Sierra, was a full minute and 50 seconds behind.

Millen was pleased with both his driving and the GXP, but was less enthused with the course conditions, citing poor traction on parts of the gravel-strewn stages.

You can read Millen's full account of the race in the press release after the jump, while the overall standings of all the competitors can be viewed here.

[Sources: GM, PPHIC]

Continue reading Pikes Peak: Millen dominates RWD Time Attack class

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

3rd Annual Mayberry Comes to Graysville

Filed under:



It was probably the shortest parade I've ever attended, including a St. Patrick's Day celebration in Mississippi that made its wat 'round the block three times so the lone marching band could finish its song. No, this one was shorter, and didn't have a marching band to accommodate, and therefore couldn't justify a repeat of the quarter-mile route.

Mayberry comes to Graysville is a big event in this small, central-Alabama town, and its residents lined the street, clustering in spots of storefront-awning shade to escape the muggy heat.

Continue reading after the jump.

Continue reading 3rd Annual Mayberry Comes to Graysville

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Video: Mitsubishi Evo X in motion

Filed under: , ,



Before the folks over at Mitsubishi drop their crown jewel Evo X on an eager public, many road-hours of testing have to be logged in the souped-up Lancer. Besides the fact that the Evo X is arguably Mitsubishi's most recognizable car, there is plenty of new technology that needs to be perfected before buyers can purchase this rocketship. Edmunds Inside Line has video of the Evo X taking it to the 'Ring, and Mitsubishi's 4WD, 300+hp beast looks ready to be unleashed. A new paddle-shift twin-clutch supersport automatic joins the more traditional six-speed manual, and more powerful means of forced induction are rumored to lie under the hood. From its aggressive stance and sharp looks, to the increased performance potential, Mitsubishi looks like a lock to continue the Evo tradition. Hit the jump to view the Evo X in action from Germany's most famous car playground.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Spy Video: Mitsubishi Evo X in motion

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreeen for 07.23.07

Filed under: ,



Who says you can't drive a Tesla Roadster? AutoblogGreen found out over the weekend that the much-hyped all-electric sports car will be featured in Project Gotham Racing 4, so get your XBox controllers ready. The video above is one of a series we found on YouTube showing some of the cars being filmed for inclusion in the game.You can see the rest here. When you're done ohhing and ahhing, you can see the rest of the weekend's green car news in the list below.

 

[via] Autoblog

Déjà vu all over again: Euro-infused Fords are coming, new Focus by 2011

Filed under: , , , , , ,



We've known that after Mulally was appointed Grand Poo-bah of FoMoCo, one of the first items on his to-do list was to commonize the automaker's lineup in Europe and America in an effort to cut production costs. The cry from those of us in the States, deriding Ford's execs for depriving us of the automaker's European offerings has been far and wide, and according to Automotive News, the movement is underfoot. Let the breath holding begin.

The auto-industry pub cites suppliers and "industry sources" as saying that Ford will be importing the C1 platform to the U.S. in the form of the new Focus and Escape, along with the C-Max and a Lincoln crossover. Expect the new Focus and C-Max to make it to our shores by 2011, while the Escape replacement and Lincoln's crossover - likely to be inspired by the European Kuga - to come by 2012.

Even better for N.A. autoworkers, Ford plans to build these newest offerings in the Wayne, Michigan and Kansas City plant, with a possibility of also employing the Cuautitlan, Mexico line.

Although we've heard these rumblings before, and have been left with such disappointments as the '08 Focus, we're feeling a bit more confident about this latest report. The timeframe seems entirely plausible, but until it happens we'll be looking cautiously into the future.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

Euro vs. Dollar: More factories may be U.S.-bound

Filed under: , , , , , ,

How's this for a wake-up call on the state of the dollar: "If the dollar keeps slumping against the euro, the United States could become the next Mexico -- a low-cost manufacturing haven for European automakers and suppliers." With the dollar at $1.38 to the euro as of now, and expecting to drop further, European makes either need to raise prices, move production to "cheaper" countries like the US, become more efficient, or be happy with less profits. Fewer euros in the till isn't really an option, and price wars are already difficult enough to navigate. That leaves relocation or finding cost efficiencies in other markets.

The article in Automotive News goes on to detail how European manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes are actively moving production to their Spartanburg, South Carolina and Tuscaloosa, Alabama factories, respectively. VW is considering its options for an American plant, but will stick with Mexican operations for now. Audi's approach, since it only sells 10-percent of it's European product in the US, has been to find cost efficiencies in markets like China. Other companies looking for such natural hedges include Magna, which recently lost a huge amount of production at its Austrian plant. The Canadian supplier and manufacturer is looking at building a factory in America to ease the pain.

The market is being watched closely, and there are too many factors in play to know who will do what yet, but some analysts think the dollar might drop to $1.50 against the euro. If so, said John Lawson, chief auto analyst for Citigroup in London, "Either the dollar has to change, or the business model has to change."

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

Frankfurt Motor Show rumors: VW unveiling ultra-cheap ride

Filed under: , ,

Due to its unique shape and low cost, the VW Beetle is perhaps the most recognizable vehicle ever to grace international roads. Since the original Bug faded away into history, the folks in Wolfsburg seem to have gotten away from budget wheels in favor of high-quality, but pricey, offerings. That's all about to change, however, as Volkswagen plans to unveil their blueprint for a new bargain VW at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The noble idea is to produce a vehicle for under €8,000 while retaining the look and feel that VW customers have come to expect. With the high cost of labor in Europe, the idea may seem like a pipe dream, but VW's plants in China and Mexico should be able to get the job done. We're probably not the only ones that hope V-dub can pull this one off.

[Source: The German Car Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford fears add complexity to Jag and Land Rover bidding

Filed under: , , , ,

Those of us outside of Ford have little idea about what Ford is really planning to do with its remaining PAG brands, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo. If nothing else, it does seems clear that Ford wants to get rid of Jaguar and Land Rover at something above fire sale prices, and it would like to keep Volvo if it can find the money and concentration to run it properly. When it comes to Jag and Rover, the surprising revelation is that even the companies bidding for the British marques have little idea about what they're getting.

Names of potential bidders continue to bob up, the latest being American equity firms TPG and Ripplewood Holdings. But Ford hasn't given any of the bidders a complete financial picture of Jaguar and Land Rover, nor have any of the bidders even been allowed to visit the factories or speak to senior management. Potential buyers have also been told not to bid if they plan on closing factories or moving production out of Britain. We can't help but think these are odd constraints to place on such a potentially large transaction -- up to $8 billion, according to some estimates. Bidders are being asked to stump up for two companies they know little about, including one that has lost a fortune, and that they cannot change them in drastic ways to render them profitable.

Ford is ostensibly worried about damage to its reputation if it relinquishes the two hallowed names to slash-and-burn overseers. Ford is the number one selling brand in Britain, and doesn't want residual anger over its treatment of Jag and Land Rover to affect its position. If this sale is a 15-round fight, we're only in Round 3 -- and it look like it's going to be a long, fascinating match all the way to the end.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Surprise, surprise: U.S. ranks 42nd out of 48 countries in deaths per capita

Filed under: ,

When you hear that the US is 42nd out of 48 countries when it comes to number of deaths per capita, it might sound like a good thing. Until you find out that the rankings go from lowest to highest -- which means, yes, that of the measured countries, there are only six places where driving is more deadly than the Land of the Free. (Tip: you might want to avoid driving in Russia and Lithuania for a few more years.)

The posited reasons are varied and numerous, and include the brevity of driver training, lax laws, weak enforcement, no emphasis on public transport, little public awareness, and a lack of Federal legislation. Regardless of the causes, the effect is that it's riskier to get behind the wheel here than it is in the Poland or Estonia. This is despite the fact that cars have gotten exponentially safer, and the US leads the world in the adoption of electronic stability control, said to be "the greatest life-saving technology since the seat belt."

If there's any consolation, it's that the US does considerably better in the number of fatalities per mile driven, where the US comes in at number 11. Before you celebrate, in 1970 the US was number one. Which country has the lowest number of fatalities per capita? Malta.

[Source: New York Times]

 

[via] Autoblog

Reader Ride: 1972 Datsun 240Z

Filed under: , ,



It's with the greatest pleasure and sincerest honor that we're able to kick-off the return of the Reader Ride with this 1972 Datsun 240Z. Aside from being one of the most handsome vehicles to ever leave Tokyo and its game-changing affect on the perception of Japanese vehicles, this 240Z has a history that was too compelling to pass up.

With only 40,000 miles on the odometer, it was purchased by Victor Vazquez of South Orange County from its previous owner located in San Diego. Originally intended to be a daily driver and perpetual project, Victor found it to be too much of a mechanical handful for daily duty, so it was sent off to a paint shop to restore it to its former glory. Regrettably, the reunion has never taken place, as Mr. Vazquez passed away on November 13th, last year.

The current owner, Victor's brother, has yet to receive the Z back from the shop, but when he does, it's expected to live out its life in the garage as a weekend-cruiser and rolling memorial to his brother.

Our love and regards are being sent out to the Vazquez family, and although this post could never do Victor's memory justice, we're honored that we were able to salute him in one of the only ways we know how.

Follow the jump to see more shots of Victor's Z and to get directions on how to submit your own vehicle for selection in our Reader Ride contest.

Continue reading Reader Ride: 1972 Datsun 240Z

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog